Newcastle star named in AFCON team of the tournament
Christian Atsu was player of the tournament in the 2015 African Cup of Nations finals when Ghana cruelly lost out on penalties in the final to Ivory Coast after extra time.
This time around though, the Newcastle star has had to settle for a 3rd/4th place play-off and selection in the official team of the tournament.
AFCON Official Team of the Tournament
Fabrice ONDOA (Cameroon)
Modou Kara MBODJI (Senegal)
Ahmed HEGAZY (Egypt)
Michael NGADEU (Cameroon)
Charles KABORE (Burkina Faso)
Daniel AMARTEY (Ghana)
Bertrand TRAORE (Burkina Faso)
Christian ATSU (Ghana)
Mohamed SALAH (Egypt)
Christian BASSOGOG (Cameroon)
Junior KABANANGA (DR Congo)
The three other Newcastle players were not recognised, with Chancel Mbemba, Henri Saivet and Mohamed Diame missing out.
Cameroon wrapped up the tournament on Sunday night, an excellent 2-1 win in the final after trailing 1-0 to Egypt. Some achievement when seven or eight (mainly European-based) players refused to travel and instead stayed with their clubs.
Saturday night saw more disappointment for Christian Atsu, as Burkina Faso won the 3rd/4th play-off 1-0, leaving Ghana with a record of winning three games and losing three throughout the tournament.
Christian Atsu’s full record in Gabon:
Ghana 1 Uganda 0 (Atsu played the full 90 minutes)
Ghana 1 Mali 0 (90 minutes)
Ghana 0 Egypt 1 (90 minutes)
Ghana 2 DR Congo (90 minutes)
Ghana 0 Cameroon 2 (90 minutes)
Ghana 0 Burkina Faso 1 (15 minutes)
A busy 18 day schedule saw Christian Atsu play five full matches and on Saturday night he came off the bench for the final 15 minutes, almost setting up a late equaliser with a decent corner that led to one of his teammates firing narrowly wide.
The winger now heads back to Tyneside with a full week to hopefully prepare him for availability against Wolves next Saturday.
Newcastle were better on Saturday against Derby but still lack creativity from the wings much of the time, particularly the left hand side, so interesting to see if Rafa Benitez now elects to use Christian Atsu more than the six Championship starts so far – having elected to use Atsu more as a late sub off the bench.
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to email@example.com